Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Big Move! (But Not For Me . . .)

Wow. It has been the busiest, most amazing week. (I'm going to call the last seven days a week rather than a calendar week because . . . well, it's my blog and I want to!:D) It started out last Wednesday by finding out Wings had hit number one on the NYT Bestseller's week. Well, you just can't start out a week any better than that! We have been rather frantically packing for the last week anyway, and Thursday we packed all morning. All. Morning. Then Kenny and I decided to reward ourselves by going to a movie with a friend. Halfway through the movie, my BIL texted me to let me know that The-Moving-Company-Which-Shall-Not-Be-Named had called to tell us that out truck (which was the only one that size or bigger in the entire state, apparently) was in Cedar City (three hours away) and, no, there was nothing they could (or would) do about it. Bear in mind this was literally less than 18 hours before we were scheduled to pick up said truck. So we calmly sat back and enjoyed the rest of the movie, then it was crisis-fixing time! Three hours, a new moving company, about $350 extra, and nine extra feet of truck later, we managed to secure another truck. Phew!

So Friday morning we got up early and cleaned out our sheds, took a huge van-full of stuff to the dump, I mowed the lawn, did a bunch of cleaning, and then . . . took off to spend the day at CONduit, a sci-fi/fantasy convention in Salt Lake City. So yes, I did cruelly leave Kenny and some family and friends to load the van. By the time I got home that night, they were done!

The next morning, my husband and three babies left me.

Well, not like that. But they moved down to Phoenix and I have obligations up here till the first week of June. *sniff* I miss them.

But I still have a fun week to look forward to. I am getting my highlights redone tomorrow (I love my highlights!) and on Thursday I am going to New York!! My whole publishing team (the people behind the magic!!) is getting together with me Thursday night to celebrate Wings being in the top spot and then on Friday I am taping an interview for book two, signing fifty books for a Costco Giveaway, attending a luncheon for the Indie Next list, and going to a swanky party that night. Whew! It will be fun! I am also meeting up with a bunch of friends at multiple locations and going to see WICKED at the Gershwin on Saturday! Can I just tell you how much I have been looking forward to this trip!?!?!? So hopefully that will help my loneliness.:)

I'm also gearing up for the Supernatural Summer Tour that is happening next week. (See that cool little widget over there in my sidebar?!?) We (the authors) will be filming the tour stops with little flip cameras so there should be some fun footage when we all get back in case you can't make it to one of the stops.

So yeah! Look for fun updates and in case you aren't following me on Twitter, that is where I do the bulk of my updates when I am traveling! I also have discovered the Facebook App that Kenny put on my phone WEEKS ago and tend to take and upload a bunch of pics that way! So check out my Facebook page too!

Also, if you are going to be at BEA, look for me!! (And I'll look for you.) I'll be the one with the WINGS button on my shirt.;)


Horses and Shrinks and Grandmothers, Oh My!

Welcome back to Blog tour. Second day in a row! What lucky readers you are. *laugh* Today we have a novel from fellow Deb C. Lee McKenzie called Sliding On The Edge. Here's a bit about it:

Shawna Stone is a heartbeat away from making the worst mistake anyone can. She’s close to taking her own life. Kay Stone is a grandmother Shawna has never known, and at sixty-four Kay feels there is little left in her life to look forward to. When they are thrown together they circle each other in a crucible of secrets and distrust until saving a doomed horse unites them and gives each a reason to live.

I love horses. Just sayin'.;)

I hope she is not offended by me saying this, but one of the reasons I love Lee is that she is one of the oldest in our group. She feels very motherly to me and I like that. (Also, she does Yoga, which is awesome.;)) But beyond that, here is a bit about Lee! A native Californian, C. Lee McKenzie has always been a writer, but to eat and make contributions to children's college funds, she’s also been a university lecturer and administrator. Lee’s written and published non-fiction articles, both in her field of Linguistics and Inter-cultural Communication, and in general readership magazines. For five years Lee wrote, edited, and published a newsletter for U.S. university professors who were managing global classroom issues. Since she turned in her academic hat and began writing for young readers, Lee’s fiction and non-fiction works have been frequently published in the award-winning e-zine, Stories for Children, and Crow Toes Quarterly has published her ghostly tales. Sliding on the Edge is her first young adult novel. Writing for teen readers keeps Lee in touch with the young members of her family, and allows her to re-visit those wonderful years in life when everything is possible. When she isn’t writing, Lee’s hiking in the Santa Cruz Mountains in Los Gatos, California.

So while everyone moves from mountain to downward dog, let's pull out our Feasty Five!! (I am so awesome at lame jokes!)

AP: What kind of soda does (would) your MC drink?

CLM: She hates soda, especially Coke. She's a water girl.

AP: Okay, we'll give her that one. I'm a big water girl myself.:) What is your MC's favorite kind of flower? How about yours?

CLM: In the beginning, she doesn't believe in flowers, but in the end "big yellow ones" fill her up. I'm partial to big yellow ones too--sunflowers or dahlias.

AP: Big, yellow ones. What an interesting description. Does your MC believe in magic? Do you?

CLM: She learns to believe in magic, very much. And, of course, I believe in it. It's at the heart of every story I write.

AP: Awww, awesome! Superman or Batman?

CLM: I'm an long-time Superman groupie.

AP: *laugh* Way to go against the tide! Give us one line from your book. You don't even have to give it context.:)

CLM: "Something wrong." That's how the book begins. That's what the book addresses.

AP: Iiiinteresting. Lee has a really gorgeous website at www.cleemckenziebooks.com. Go check it out!


Monday, May 25, 2009

Auditions and Practice and Steven, Oh My!

Welcome back to DebsTour 2009!! The lovely and inestimable Sarah Ockler (author of 20 Boy Summer) gave me a very nice break in the weeks following my own release and since there are TONS of incredible, edible Debs coming out this summer, you'll see lots more of these in the next couple of weeks! I was actually supposed to get this one out yesterday, but I failed to realize that when my husband moved and took the modem with him, the internet left too. So now I am at my friends' house, stealing their internet till I can be reunited with my modem . . . I mean my husband . . . *laugh* Love you Kenny!!!

Okay, so a bit about ONE WISH: Overweight Wrenn Scott desperately wants to be popular and snag a hot boyfriend. Her amazing voice (for once) overshadows her weight when she lands a lead role in the high school musical. Pushing to get thinner by opening night, Wrenn's waistline shrinks as she learns all the wrong ways to lose weight from a new "it-girl" friend in the show. By opening night, the old Wrenn has almost disappeared. After a crisis reveals her weight-loss tricks, Wrenn realizes there are much more important things than being thin, popular, or even dating a hunk.

And where would ONE WISH be without it's lovely author! A bit about Leigh: Leigh Brescia grew up in North Carolina, spending most of her days playing in the woods behind her home and imagining she was a princess. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English Communication from Mount Olive College and her Master's degree from Fort Hays State University. As an undergraduate, she worked in the Office of Public Affairs, where she wrote press releases and feature articles for the local newspapers and campus magazines.

When she's not grading papers or writing for tweens and teens, she enjoys reading, watching movies, and playing the piano. She sings when she's in a good mood, can't get anything to grow in her garden, and is ignored by the cat. She currently lives in North Carolina with her husband and her pre-schooler, which itself is an adventure.

And on to the Feasty Five!!!

AP: *Ahem* What kind of soda does (would) your MC drink?

LB: Wrenn gives up soda in One Wish, but she does drink orangeades (like lemonade, only better). I love them as much as she does. In fact, I *just* finished one.

AP: What is your MC's favorite kind of flower? How about yours?

LB: She likes roses. I like roses, too, but I also really like wisteria.

AP: Does your MC believe in magic? Do you?

LB: We haven’t discussed it, but since she’s looking for a total transformation, I’d have to say yes. Me? It depends on the kind.

AP: Give us one line from your book. You don't even have to give it context.:)

LB: “And I’m not talking about the smoke detector . . . biscuits are usually ready before the fire alarm goes off!”

AP: Superman or Batman?

LB: Batman. I tend to go for the dark, mysterious types with really fast cars.

AP: Mmmm, fast cars . . . I mean, you can totally find Leigh at www.leighbrescia.com


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Whoa . . . .

I think every author, at least at the beginning, kind of, sort of thinks that this whole getting your book published thing has got to be a huge practical joke. Especially before you see anything tangible. We're just waiting for someone to go "PSYCH!!!!" and yank the proverbial rug out from underneath us.

I've had a lot of moments like that. In fact, when Jodi offered to represent me, I was at the gym grinning like an idiot, when all of the sudden it hit me. ANYONE could have made an email address and put "Jodi Reamer" as the sender!!! I seriously got SO paranoid that I cut my workout short and ran home to make sure that the email address I had received the email from was the same email address listed on Writers House's website. So yeah . . .um . . .I'm kinda paranoid.

However, everything about WINGS has been a dream come true. So all along my journey I have been looking for little signs that it is real. The ARCs were the first real, tangible sign. Real books! Surely someone wasn't sending these to me as a joke. Then things like pre-pub tour where OTHER people had my ARC. Well, they can't ALL be in on it, right??

Even seeing my book on the shelves was not quite good enough to convince me. After all, the only bookstores I had seen it at were local. That was still within the realm of possibility for practical joking. So going on tour and seeing it in other cities? Well, surely THAT meant it was real.

My credulity was strained last week when Tara and Jodi told me I had debuted on the NYT Bestsellers list. But they sent me the PDF of the list, and that Saturday it came out on the actual New York Times website. The New York Times certainly would not waste their good reputation helping out on the most eleborate practical joke ever. Surely . . .

Then the jokers went to0 far. Never believe something when it's too good to be true, I always say. So when Tara and Jodi called me this week to announce that WINGS was the number one New York Times Bestseller, I just KNEW it really was a joke. The whole darn thing. Because that was way, way, way to good to be true. They repeated three times that it really was true, and they sent me the PDF and I stared at it for about ten minutes.

But it was simply one step too far. It was too good to be true.

I actually did kind of go into shock (my father was a bit worried about me on the phone because I sounded so weird.) And after I finally came out of the numbness, I was--I kid you not--absolutely paralyzed by this overwhelming fear that, no, really, this whole publishing a book thing really WAS the biggest practical joke ever, and if I told anyone my new good news, everyone was just going to laugh harder at me.

My husband had no such qualms; he told everyone! But my stomach literally ached at the thought of telling anyone. ANYONE! I made Kenny tell his mother for me, and I managed to talk to my sister when she called, but I kind of just choked a couple of words out.

It took me two hours to finally emerge from that paralyzing fear and face the reality that, no, no one would actually play a hoax on me that was that big, that immense!

So it must be true!!

Wings must actually be the number ONE New York Times Bestselling Children's chapter book!!


About six hours after the initial call, it's finally starting to sink in! Never in even my wildest dreams, did I think my debut novel could reach number one. I honestly don't know how it happened. But somehow, it did!!!!

And all I can do--well, other than babble incoherently--is say thank you. Thank you to EVERYONE! To my agent for loving my writing even before it had matured, to my editor for taking a chance on a new author with a very strange idea about faeries, to my publicist who makes my events go so smoothly, my marketing team who have spread the word like nobody's business!! My blog readers who are the best word of mouth spreaders EVER! My readers. All of them. Even though most of them don't read this blog. Wow! Thank you all! You have made a dream I didn't even dare to dream, come true.

Thank you.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Career Changing, Not Life Changing

One of the first things a lot of people asked me after finding out that Wings had hit the lists was, "How does it feel to be a NYT Bestseller!!!"

About the same as it felt not to be.

I posted a tongue-in-cheek Tweet the other day that said: "So, what does a brand new NYT Bestseller do on her first full day as such?!?! Did you guess mow her lawn?? You're so smart.;)" But it really is true. Your life doesn't change anymore than it does by becoming published. I'm still a mom, I still mow my own lawn and bake my own bread, and I still struggle to try to write every day.

Which isn't to say I don't love it and it's awesome! But life doesn't change. Even writing life doesn't change. I still have a deadline at the beginning of June that I'm sweating over, and I still look at certain pages in my now-published book and cringe. (Does any author NOT do that?!?!) I get asked a lot if I will one day publish my old shelf novels if my name gets big enough and people look at me strangely when I say probably not. Just like when I was pre-published, I still believe that I should only publish the best work I can do at the time. And well, those novels are no longer the best I can do. I stress over reviews, worry about covers, freak out over titles. That part just hasn't changed.

It is career changing, I certainly can't deny that. For the rest of my career someone in the design department will find a nice, aesthetic way to put "New York Times Bestselling Author" on my covers. Aspiring authors will think I know something (I don't), people will probably send me free books to read, hoping for a blurb (yay! Free books!) and it will become a bullet point on my resume.(Assuming I ever write up a resume. Ha!)

But I hope that's the only way in which it changes my career. I hope my editor will still feel free to edit me just as hard as she ever has, I hope my agent will still slap me down when I'm getting too fussy, I hope aspiring writers will still come for me for advice because they know I will give it to them. I hope I don't get an ego. I'm going to try really hard not to! I hope I will be happy for associates' successes, get pissed with them over getting shafted, commiserate when things don't go their way. I hope that I will be one of those authors who has a reputation for being nice instead of . . .well . . . the other kind.

Because the fact of that matter is, there are hundreds, no thousands, of books out there that are better than mine that, for one reason or another, are not getting the attention mine is. NYT Bestseller #6 does NOT equal the sixth best book in the country. Just the one that happens to have the sixth best sales numbers at the moment. That's all.

Don't get me wrong. Hitting the lists is awesome! It's wonderful! I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world! But if I start acting like it means something about who I am as a person, please slap me with a fish.:)


Friday, May 15, 2009

WINGS In The Wild!

Okay, I am so totally remiss at taking so long to post this . . . but I finally am!! The winner of the Wings in the Wild contest is Tom!! who sent in this picture (my first spotting in the UK!!!)

Tom, please email me and let me know which book you would like, and also if you would prefer the UK version or US version. Oh, and your address.:)

Second place was Jennifer Harris!

My book in Costco!! Yay!!! Jennifer, I know you guys are in temporary housing this summer, so when you get your new address, send it along and I'll send you some fun swag!

And third place is LaRee Ottley . . . but being the incredibly organized person I am . . . I lost the picture . . . But it was a picture of Wings at Borders! LaRee, I already have your address, so I will get stuff in the mail!!

Thank you guys for sending pics of Wings to me! It is so incredibly exciting to see my book out all over the place! It's not a joke! It really is real!!! Thanks!!!


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

It Actually Happened!!!

Wow. I have had the most awesome two days ever!! Yesterday I had four more school visits (I did four the day before as well!) culminating with a signing at the Idaho Falls Barnes and Noble and it was incredible!!! I had so many people there. People I knew from high school and college, people I knew from Phoenix, even a guy I've known since he was two! Lots of familiar faces. I also had several students who I presented to at the schools come which was totally gratifying. I signed books for over an hour. (As a side note, I still feel naughty writing in books.;))

It's very strange to actually start to feel like a real author . . . but I'm starting to. Book one is out, I'm just putting the final touches on my second round of edits for book two, and people I don't know (and don't owe any favors) are reading my book. Weird!!

However, the most surreal thing of all happened today. This evening I got a call from my editor . . . which my phone--to my total and utter dismay--proceeded to drop. *headthunk* However, when someone calls from Harper, it only registers the main Harper number, so I couldn't actually tell if it was my editor or my publicist. Or, for all I knew, the janitor. So I couldn't call back. So I stared at my phone for five minutes, willing it to ring (because all authors know that there is only one reason your phone rings on a Wednesday evening) and finally it does, and it's my agent. Close enough! I immediately answer and Jodi says, "Tara just called me." At which point I proceed to babble about dropped calls and leading a raid to the AT&T headquarters. Luckily, Jodi interrupts me and says that she has her on the line and is going to conference her in because she has something--oh, probably mundane--to tell me. *insert severe heart palpitations here* So Tara comes on and tells me that Wings has debuted on the New York Times Bestsellers List. And not only on the list, at number six.

Can we say Thrilled. Beyond. Belief?!?!??!

So, even though there are not nearly as many people who read my blog as who must have bought my book to get me on this list, it's the only outlet I have. So, for what it's worth, this is the only place I get to publicly say thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for supporting me and Wings. For sometimes going to great lengths to get the bookstore staff to get it out of the back room. For talking me up or reviewing my book on your blog. For all the little things as well as big things. Thank you.



Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fan Art

I am exhausted. I am going to bed.:) However, Stacy the Awesome reminded me that I haven't posted my super-incredible fan art yet!! So I wanted to make sure I did that tonight because it was so awesome! Not only was it very well done, it was just simply so fun to have someone like my book enough to take the time to do fan art for it.

And then they laminated it!! (Excellent for authors who have to put art in their luggage.)

So thank you Leah and Brittany!!

Isn't it pretty!!!

*yawn* Ciao!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

I'm Back! (And Come Party!!)

Thanks so much for all the lovely comments while I was gone! It was so much fun to come back to them!!


Tour was amazing.

Simply amazing.

And school visits? They are awesome. SO incredibly awesome. Teens are the absolute best demographic in the world to write for!! I only did school visits in Chicago this week, (more next week! Yay!!) but oh my goodness, the teenagers in Chicago are so great!!! I got FAN ART!!! Really good fan art!! (Unfortunately, my husband absconded with my phone tonight, so I will have to post pictures tomorrow.)

Some highlights:

*Seeing my first floor display. The. Best!!

*All of the schools decorated for my visits!!

*Meeting fellow Debs, Kristin Walker and Kristina Springer! We got to hang out afterward and had a great time!! Thanks so much for coming, guys!!!

*Signings with more than ten people!! Yay!! The signing in Phoenix had about fifty. . . . course they were mostly family and friends, but that's okay.;) I didn't have any signings where I just read to the bookstore staff. I will call that a win!!

*Reading The Maze Runner by James Dashner on my flights. Whoa! This book is amazing!! (Sorry, not out till October. But worth the wait!! . . . you may see my name somewhere on the cover when it comes out. *wink*)

*Seeing people I met on my pre-pub tour!! Andrea, Becky, and Jan!! You rock!!

*Signing stock. LOTS of stock. My book!! It's real!!!

Man, I had such a good time. I am headed to Idaho tomorrow for a couple of days of school visits and a signing on Tuesday night at the Idaho Falls Barnes and Noble at the Grand Teton Mall. Starts at seven! Be there! (All the cool kids are doing it.;))

Also, if you live in the greater Salt Lake City area, I am having a launch mingle Thursday night at the King's English in Salt Lake City between 5:30 and 7:00 PM, followed by a reading and signing. Everyone is invited!! There will be cake and soda!! Seriously, you don't have to RSVP or anything; just come party with me!! *does the party dance* It's going to be way fun. Hope to see some of you there!!


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Faeries and Flowers and Trolls, Oh My!!;)

Today the Blog Tour welcomes . . . .Me!! Ha! Well, sorta. Actually, I am welcoming Laurel! The star of WINGS!!! A bit about WINGS from Laurel's point of view:

"Wings is the story of how everything in my life changed. I moved to a new city, met my first boyfriend, started public school, and, um, found out I was a faerie. And not the way you might think. Faeries . . . well, let's just say the stories have them all wrong. Or, kind of wrong. It's understandable! So now my life is exciting . . . and complicated. I have a lot of choices coming up. Hard choices. And the consequences of them could affect the whole world."

That's a lot of pressure for a fifteen-year-old!

A bit about Laurel:

Laurel Sewell is a fifteen year old who lives in Crescent City, CA and attends Del Norte High School. She enjoys the outdoors and playing her guitar and singing. She does not enjoy Biology, as much as her friend, David tries to convince her too. She does enjoy English and has a fondness for the color blue.

And now, Laurel steps up for the Feasty Five!!

AP: What kind of soda do you drink?

LS: Sprite. Pretty much always. No artificial coloring or caffeine. Also lots of sugar and no fat. It's good for me!

AP: What is your favorite kind of flower?

LS: I used to really love African Violets. My mom grows them. But I've been learning a lot about flowers lately and have decided my very favorite are Cymbidian Orchids.

AP: Do you believe in magic?

LS: I didn't used to. But I kind of have to now. I've learned that it's probably best to believe in everything. At least a little bit.

AP: Superman or Batman?

LS: Batman. No matter what natural abilities you are born with, what really matters are your choices and what you do with what you have. Batman is totally a good example of that.

AP: Give us one line you say in WINGS. You don't even have to give it context.:)

LS: "David, take a very big breath."

AP: *waits for context*

LS: *silence*

Crickets: *Chirping*

AP: Okay, fine. no spoilers! You can learn more about Laurel at my microsite at Harper Teen's website!

*Short note, I have winners for the Wing in the Wild contest and will get them out as soon as I can!*